How To Clean Running Shoes

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Walking, running, and working out outside is tough on your body. But, it is tougher on your shoes as they go through a lot every day. We are talking about the dirt and dust that gets settled on the running shoes after using them for a very long time. The worst part about working out on the outside is that you cannot keep your shoes clean. There is always a considerable amount of mud on the tracks that get stuck to your shoes while you are running outside.

This problem is not that bad for dark-colored shoes. But, if you have a pair of white running shoes, you will have to clean them every other week as they will become brownish by taking in a lot of dirt while using them. Apart from the degraded appearance of the shoes, the dirt on the shoes can also have other harmful effects.

To avoid these problems, one must clean the running shoes regularly. But, the shoes do not get cleaned easily as the mud and impurities are firmly attached to the shoes. In this case, you will have to follow the proper shoe cleaning procedure mentioned here. While the cleaning method differs for different types of dirt and where the location where you usually go with the shoes on, the methods provided here will be helpful for all cases.

How to Clean Running Shoes?

For this, you will require a few things by your side that are:

  • A toothbrush
  • A Waterpipe
  • Mile soap or detergent
  • Soap and water solution for inner side

As you can see, these are ordinary household cleaning items and will not be a problem for anyone. Although, you can only use this method of cleaning if the shoes are slightly dirty. It is preferred to carry out manual shoe cleaning every week or so to prevent the shoes from getting dirtier over time.

Stage #1: Cleaning the sole of the shoe

The sole of the shoe is the dirtiest part of the shoe as it directly comes in contact with the ground. In the case of running shoes, it is not possible to step only on clean areas while maintaining a constant pace. Thus, we often step into a puddle of water or mud every now and then that gets attached to our shoes. Also, dirt on the sole of the shoes reduces its traction and makes it slippery.

To clean the sole of the shoes, you need to make sure they are completely dry. You can use the toothbrush to give a hard dry scrub to the sole so that all dried up dirt and mud will come off easily. Once that is done, you can start rinsing the sole with pressurized water to remove firmly grasped dirt and clean the sole completely.

Stage #2: Cleaning the top portion of the shoe

This is the part where you need to be extra careful. The top portion of the running shoes is generally very delicate and might get torn easily if excess pressure is applied. Also, this top portion contains a porous structure where the dust tends to settle in. Thus, proper cleaning of these parts of the shoe is imminent and must be done carefully.

To clean this part of the shoe, you should first remove the shoelaces completely. This will give you access to the hard-to-reach areas and also allow you to clean the shoelace separately. After that, remove the inner liners of the shoe so that you can hold the shoe properly. For cleaning, you should use a softer brush to make sure it does not tear the shoe.

You can also use a little bit of soap on this part of the shoe to make it shine. But, make sure you rinse it completely and there is no residue soap remaining on the shoe as it can be hazardous for sensitive skin. Once the scrubbing is done, rinse the shoes through a flowing stream of water to make them completely clean.

Stage #3: Cleaning the insoles and laces

You might be wondering why insoles need to be cleaned if they are always inside the shoes and do not come in contact with external dust or dirt? Well, the insoles might not be coming directly in contact with the outside dirt, but it gets dirtier over time. This is because the soles absorb the sweat and create an odor. Also, it eventually becomes a home for various bacteria that might cause foot infection.

If you clean the insoles regularly, you can easily avoid these problems completely. The best way to clean the insole is to use a baking soda and mild soap solution mixed with water. In case you do not have baking soda, you can also use vinegar as it performs well enough for the cleaning.

You should scrub the insoles very gently, preferably with a smooth piece of cloth, and rinse them with water. Make sure you do not put the insoles back in the shoes before they are completely dry otherwise they will not dry inside the shoes for a very long time.

The laces also get dirtier over time as they are exposed to the environment at all times. Although, cleaning shoelaces is not much difficult as you can simply put them inside a washing machine and get them cleaned easily.

Stage #4: Drying the shoes

This might be the easiest part of the process, but it is extremely mandatory nonetheless. Even a small amount of residual moisture present in the shoes can be hazardous for your feet and it will cause immense amounts of irritation and itching if used in this condition.

The best way to make sure the shoes are dried up completely is to keep them under direct sunlight for a small time. Once the dripping water is evaporated, you can bring the shoes indoors and dry them inside.

For indoor drying, you should keep them in a room which is away from the bathroom to make sure the humidity in the air is not above normal. This will help with the drying as shoes will dry much faster in dry air. You can also put the shoes and other parts under a high-speed fan where the constant wind will dry the shoes completely and quickly. For inner drying, you can stuff newspaper or cardboard inside the shoes which will absorb the moisture from the inside.

How to Maintain Running Shoes?

Cleaning shoes is one thing. But, keeping the shoes maintained on a daily basis is also equally important. If you take care of your running shoes regularly it will not get as dirty as before and will be much easier to clean next time. There are a few things that you can do every day that will not take much of your time, but it will surely help you to retain your shoes’ quality and keep it as good as new for a long time.

Here are some tips that you should follow to keep your shoes maintained:

Store shoes in a dry and clean place

The shoes can get dirtier even where they are stored. As dust is everywhere, you need to select a proper place to store your shoes where there is a minimum amount of dirt. The way for that is to have a closed shoe rack outside your home. It will keep the shoes clean and dry at all times.

Don’t stack footwear overshoes

Keeping other footwear like sandals and slippers induces pressure on the running shoes. Due to constant fatigue, the running shoes will lose their shape over time. Not to mention, other footwear also has immense dirt on its sole that will be attached to the top part of your shoe.

Use shoe cleaning products for regular cleaning

Cleaning the shoes regularly with simple cloth or wet cloth might not be enough, especially in the case of running shoes. You should get a particular shoe cleaning product that you can easily find on the market. These products help to clean your shoes and also keep the shine intact.

Prefer manual cleaning over machine cleaning

While most shoes are rigid enough to be washed directly inside a washing machine, you should try to avoid that as much as possible. Machine-based cleaning generally ruins the shoes over time and it will get loose and torn eventually. With manual cleaning, you can avoid these problems.


The shoes are an indivisible part of your attire apart from being the perfectly secured footwear available out there. When getting ready, you can have the most luxurious clothes but they will not go well with a dirt pair of shoes. While you can keep the clothes safe from getting dirtier, it could not be done in the case of a shoe. For running shoes, you cannot have any control over keeping them clean, especially if you are using them for outdoor runs.

Therefore, cleaning shoes regularly is the only option you have. By following the simple cleaning method provided in this article, you can get your shoes all cleaned up and ready to go. All you need to do is take a little time apart and get them cleaned thoroughly. We have also provided some simple methods to maintain the shoes which will come in handy for regular users.

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